Livorsi Marine Wireless Trim System
The importance of trimming the engine or drive unit in a performance boat is well-known. The trim angle affects the overall running attitude of the boat, and in a high performance application, proper trimming is crucial for maximum performance and safety.
For the above reasons, high performance boats generally have the trim controls situated in a location where it is most accessible, without the driver having to look for them. Since performance-minded boaters are always adjusting the drive unit trim angle, a common location for mounting the trim switches has been on the steering wheel itself. This purpose was two-fold – first, the driver could keep both hands on the wheel at the same time while adjusting the trim, and second, the driver could keep their eyes where they belong – on the water moving quickly below them. The problem with this system is the coil of wire that connects the actuators on the steering wheel can become tangled easily. On a boat equipped with hydraulic steering, this was not even an option, since hydraulic steering systems are not limited in their wheel travel.
Other common solutions include the ‘turn signal’ style trim actuators, which resemble the turn signal branch on an automotive steering column. This worked well for tunnel boats with hydraulic steering, but many v-bottom owners could not adjust to the awkward feeling of this system since the V-bottom requires much more steering feedback from the user. Cordless helm systems have gained wide acceptance among users as well, incorporating the actuator electronics into the helm and steering wheel as a complete system. The main drawback of this system is that it required a steering wheel and helm actuator to be used as a unit.
Livorsi Marine brings a new product into this category that allows for more flexibility and customization options, as well as the ability to be incorporated into almost any steering wheel. Hydraulic steering systems benefit from this system the most, since there is no real on-center location for the wheel, and switch cords could quickly become a nightmare - or even a hazard.
Livorsi’s Wireless Trim-In-Wheel system uses a radio transmitter that is installed into the steering wheel hub and a receiver to control trim, engine height, K-planes, or any other device you choose. What sets the Livorsi system apart is its expandability, offering the user wireless control for a variety of systems on the boat.
The system consists of a small transmitter that is concealed in the hub if the steering wheel and a receiver that switches the connected devices. The transmitter powered by a small 3-volt lithium-ion battery that’s good for one year of use before replacement is required. High quality, positive feedback switches are connected to the transmitter, which can accept multiple switch connections to operate up to eight different functions (up and down commands each count as a respective function).
The receiver is housed in a plastic box not much larger than a deck of cards, which is powered by the 12-volt power source on the boat. Utilizing reliable NEC/Tokin relays (4) to deliver power, they are rated to 1 million actuations. The box features multiple pins that could be connected to trigger trim, lift plates, K-planes, and so on.
As mentioned, the Trim-In-Wheel system can be installed into almost any steering wheel. Alternatively, Livorsi Marine can perform the steering wheel installation for you. For this installation, we used a Livorsi Momo Spargi steering wheel. Installation is can be performed using a small drill and a soldering iron.
To install the radio transmitter and switches, you must drill the appropriate holes into the steering wheel spokes as needed. The number of buttons is determined by the application and your preference. For our installation, we have four switches – two on each side – that control the trim. The switches are color coded; green for down, blue for up. After the switches are installed, two small holes will be drilled into the top of the hub, just below the spokes. The switch wires will pass through to the inside of the steering wheel hub at this location. Once the wires are in the hub, you may solder the connections to the radio receiver. Alternatively, if you choose not to solder the connections, you can purchase two pin fan PC fan connectors at almost any computer hardware outlet. It might also be wise to bring the radio transmitter with you to be sure your connectors will fit properly onto the pin header.
The second part of the installation is the setup of the radio receiver. You can place this unit anywhere inside the boat, however we recommend a location that is protected against moisture. Since I already have a wiring block under the dashboard, this is where I chose to mount the trim receiver. Installation is very straightforward – simply mount the box, connect the power leads, and then your connections to the trim solenoids. Although the first two pins are used for trim actuation, the remaining pins remain active, and may be used to trigger other devices.
The quality of the electronic components is very good, and our Livorsi Momo wheel looks perfectly natural with the trim system buttons integrated into it. I’m pleased to report that there was no interference with the Livorsi trim system at all – it simply functions the same as a wired system it replaces. During testing, it was noted that there is approximately a 250ms delay from the time the trim button is pressed to when the relay is commanded. This delay will not be a problem for pleasure or casual performance boating, but racers should take note of this. The trim system was tested in close proximity to various common radio frequency-emitting devices with no resulting interference.
Overall, Livorsi's Wireless Trim-In-Wheel system is a fantastic solution for those looking for the convenience of wireless steering wheel-mounted trim and tab controls, while adding the custom appeal of a system that can be integrated into almost any steering wheel.